Chet Chetter's Tales from the Morgue is a series of short stories as told by an old obliging morgue attendant, licensed embalmer and resident story teller named Chet Chetter to a passing stranger of the night played by you the listener. The stories Chet relates to us are all quite fanciful. They deal with topics that would be classified supernatural and science fiction. They border on outrageous but that is how they are meant to be. Roughly half of the shows feature a nice, likeable, rural southern manure hauler by the name of Elmer Korn who always finds himself involved in some inane predicament. The creators of the series themselves admit the show is rather off-beat but, you will find, not without it’s own charm which lies within the humorous writing and the recurring characters.
This series was created and produced by M&J Audio Theater. The M stands for Mark Sawyer and the J is for Jay Reel. Two childhood friends who met in the 6th grade in 1977 with a tape recorder that had a mutual interest in radio drama as influenced by old time radio shows such as X Minus One, Lum and Abner, and Gunsmoke. One can hear these influences in every story from the subject matter and the character voices, to the plots. The creaking door opening, the host’s oddly humorous manner and the “pleasant dreams” ending are an undeniable salute to The Inner Sanctum and Himan Brown. Between the two of them, Mark and Jay collaborate to do over 20 characters in these stories. Jay is the voice of Chet Chetter, Elmer Corn, the Sherrif, Roland, and Gale Headrush Taylor. Mark only admits to being the voice of Cecil Farris and incidental characters.
Mark and Jay produced the first Chet Chetter story, "The Highway of Death" in 1989. It was born from a series of 95 episodes which they did over a period of years from 1980 to 1995. They call it "The Conofrof Saga". They submitted "The Highway of Death" to National Public Radio and were amazed when NPR responded with an order for 3 more stories. The 4 episodes were accepted and broadcast on NPR Playhouse in 1990. The following year NPR ordered 9 more installments of Tales From the Morgue to be broadcast as a complete 13 show series in 1992. There were a total of 19 shows produced but 6 were rejected by NPR. M and J are quick to point out that rejection by NPR has no bearing on the quality of the show. The rejections merely reflect the stringent guidelines NPR had for broadcast content at the time.
During the 90’s Tales From the Morgue proved so popular that it aired internationally in Australia and England. Some episodes were featured three times on Sue Zizza’s Radio Works including one non-morgue show The Spirit of 76 Marina Hootin’ Nanny.
Mark and Jay developed a new series called M&J Presents due largely to feeling creatively stifled by NPR’s rigid standards. With their new series there were no rules, no restrictions. Anything could be done and was.
The shows varied in content and story lines. For them it was more like a miscellaneous collection from the M&J archives. Unfortunately M&J Audio Theater has not produced any new material in over 10 years at the time of this writing but don’t count them out. They have the same love for theater of the mind as we do and both Mark and Jay would fervently like to return to it at some point. At present Mark and Jay are co-directing, producing, writing and editing a movie based on the first episode of Chet Chetter, "The Highway of Death".
Information was supplied by Mark Sawyer, co creator of Chet Chetter's Tales From the Morgue.
OTRR Certification Information:
Series Name: Chet Chetter's Tales from the Morgue Certification Status: OTRR Certified Complete Certification Date: October 20, 2005 Certification Version: Version 2 Number of CDs: 1
From the Old Time Radio Researcher's Group. See "Note" Section below for more information on the OTRR.
It contains the most complete and accurate version of this series in the best sound possible at the time of creation. An updated version will be issued if more episodes or better sounding ones become available.
If you are interested in preserving old time radio, you may wish to join the Old Time Radio Researchers Group at Yahoo.
Relax, listen, and enjoy!
OTRR Certified Accurate -- A series that is Certified Accurate indicates that all the episodes are properly identified and labeled but that the series does not contain all known extant episodes.
OTRR Certified Complete -- A series that is Certified Complete is the highest level of certification available under the OTRR Certified Standards. This certification level implies that all the files in the series are Certified Accurate but also indicates that the series is as complete as possible – it includes all extant episodes.
March 11, 2011 Subject:
ran out of steam, indeed
I don't understand that 5-star review. Yes, it's something different and fairly amusing at first, but the shows get repetitive fairly quickly. This really isn't OTR, and I suggest you spend your time listening to quality material from the OTR period.
March 8, 2011 Subject:
Great @ First...
I enjoyed the first few episodes - they were funny. However, I quickly became tired of the last episodes involving "The Constipator". It seemed as if they had just run out of ideas and made these to fill out the amount of episodes.
It says that you need a password to open the file. What is it?
October 5, 2007 Subject:
Chet Chetter YEEEE HAW!!!!
This has to be the stupidest most low budget production I have ever heard but I laughed until I almost peed myself. The characters are portrayed as back-woods hicks, but they remind me of actual people I know. Bless their hearts. I am not sorry I downloaded the series.
January 10, 2007 Subject:
I just finished listening to this series for the first time and I really liked it -- not the average kind of show but well done just the same. If you like something with a touch of morbidness -- this is for you!
July 18, 2006 Subject:
I really liked this offbeat series that was first broadcast on NPR. However, this set has some episodes that are brand new.